Blue Mosque: the finished painting

Blue Mosque

Alas once again a good painting spoiled slightly by a bad photograph. The camera has diffused the depth of colour in the trees etc in the foreground. This is the best photograph of all those that I took, so will have to put up with it. Shame because the colours of foliage etc are much richer than shown. The mosque is not too bad though, even though the shadows on the building are really much deeper.

Palm trees are tricky. They were done with a dry brush, just hoping that the bristles open out to give that feathery effect. They seem to have done.

For the trunks of the palm trees, I mixed permanent rose with burnt sienna to give, hopefully, the effect of bright sun highlighting the wood. That was the base coat. I used a very dark brown as a shadow over the top as a glaze, just leaving a little of the red showing on the sunny side. Likewise the park benches which were brightly lit in some cases, I used the same mix of rose and burnt sienna. I felt that that had worked

The other trees, some of which were obviously tidily clipped, I had to sort out, otherwise in a painting they would have been indistinguishable. I painted some lighter than they appeared against darker trees in the background so that one defined the other

Small figures, some of them in red, led the eye through the trees, and I hope have given a feeling of distance

The enjoyable part of the exercise was the mosque itself. A lovely drawing exercise hopefully getting the domes and minarets right, and then the subtle shading, which I built up over a period, hoping to get the depth of shade correct. Hard for you to judge, I know, as the camera has bleached everything. So frustrating!

I had to do quite a lot of masking out in order to catch the bright spots where the light fell. So there we have it, the finished result

What to do next. I have some pictures taken on our local canal, which I would like to try. Also going to Spain in the not too distant future, so could be plenty of inspiration there too.

Thanks for reading, if you have done. Hope you enjoyed the result

 

Blue Mosque: First Wash

Blue Mosque First Wash

Just as an interim, and whilst I think of it, I have masked out several items on this picture before putting down a base wash

The scene was brightly lit from the left and there is interesting sparkle on the trees, on the tiny background figures and on the mosque itself. Whether or not I will be successful in capturing these remains to be seen. I have always found them elusive and welcome any tips.

I have masked along the left-hand edge of the minarets so as to get a hard edge against the blue sky. Likewise some of the domes and the sides of the tree trunks. The colour of the palm tree trunks is brown going towards red in the bright light, so will probably mix some permanent rose in with the burnt sienna, hopefully to catch that richness of colour. Also the park benches are that colour too.

I have put a band of Indian yellow wet-in-wet where the flower beds are so hope that works

The rest is detailing and building up the darks to encourage the brightness of the brights. We shall see. This may well take me a while

Blue Mosque, Istanbul:Tonal Sketch

Blue Mosque Sketch

I mentioned a few posts back that I wanted a smaller picture for the exhibition as they are popular sometimes. I will repeat the photograph later, which was one that I took when we were there in October

The light was very good and the shadows were long and distinct. I couldn’t make my mind up, whether to use the local colours or whether to try a sunset picture. I think as the shadows are good that I will stick with the local colours, with maybe a mental note to do a sunset picture another time. As we were driving from the airport to pick up our ship,the day before, ┬áthe sun was setting over Istanbul, and especially over the Mosque of Suleiman the Magnificent, another beautiful building. ┬áThe sky was orange going towards pink and the buildings were violet. Sadly my camera was still packed in the luggage hold. Maybe I will try that shot from memory one day.

I think the sketch will be very helpful. I have moved some trees away from the front of the building, and I think I have sorted out the shaded areas. I didn’t use ink this time for the sketch. Instead I used Paynes Grey watercolour, which I quite like for sketching. You can’t tell from the photograph, but the colour is a blue-black shade, which is quite pleasing. I sometimes think that I prefer the sketch to the finished painting. There is something about a sketch, perhaps because it is done quickly and without inhibition, that the work retains spontaneity and freshness. Easy to lose this, when working carefully on the actual painting.

I now have to transfer the sketch to the watercolour paper, which is the uninteresting part and then start the painting. Colours to be decided, so I will be a little while

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As you can see, some unnecessary stuff left out, and I have moved closer to the building itself

I am hoping on Saturday to get up to London and go to another exhibition at the Tate Gallery. The exhibition is entitled Art and Empire which should be interesting. When we were there for the Frank Auerbach exhibition, we looked in quickly, but this is quite a big exhibition so we left it for another day. If it is good I will write something about it. Certainly it will be as different to the Auerbach collection as chalk is to cheese

Istanbul:our condolences

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Our deepest sympathies to the people of Istanbul, for yet another terrorist outrage in your country today

We were there on this spot in October, so makes it feel closer. Crazy misguided people who can’t be reasoned with are a threat to us all. Somehow they must not win

Such a lovely city, Istanbul. People should keep visiting

Istanbul, Bosphorus Preparatory Drawing

As today is the first day of the first month, I would like to wish anyone and everyone reading this post, a very happy new year. Perhaps I should wish you a fortunate new year, as inevitably this year will bring the usual mix of joy and sadness that we all share

Meanwhile back to the drawing board, quite literally….

I have made a start on the drawing using the photographs that I featured on the last post. It is not complete yet but is sufficiently in place, so that we can talk about it. This will be a tonal sketch, rather as I did for the Langstone painting, which means that the shadows will have been worked out well in advance of the painting stage.

On this occasion, I have used Derwent sketching pencils which are soluble. I have cross-hatched the dark side of buildings, and then washed over with clean water to give a shaded effect. These are much more convenient to use than ink. I had forgotten that I had them, so that was a nice find.

I will get the image up before we go any further.Galata Tower, Istanbul

The important building in the picture is the Galata Tower, which was a watch tower and which gives a panorama across the city. It was built by the Genoese in 1348, and replaced an earlier tower destroyed by crusaders in 1203. The Genoese were a merchant community in Constantinople at the time, and I guess this was their way of expressing gratitude for the hospitality shown them

I will only be able to use two of the three photographs, as I want to keep the finished painting within 40 centimetres. This is a pity, as I had hoped to include the splendid red Turkish flag shown between two buildings on the third photo. Not to worry, I still have dashes of red in the foreground with the life belts and the small flags on the boats. Maybe I can do a postcard study of the buildings holding this large flag, at a later date

In case you don’t know, and my apologies if you do, using some red in the foreground is a useful device for artists. It is an aid to perspective, as red comes towards you, just as blue recedes. Distant scenery turns blue, as you have probably noticed.

Let me repeat, that this drawing is not yet complete. I will post the completed drawing when I have finished it

I also have photographic references of the Blue Mosque, which should make a lovely study at some time. The last time we were in Istanbul, which was 2001, so a while ago, we went to the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia, which I believe is a museum now. We also went to the ancient cisterns of Constantinople, that masterpiece of Roman engineering, where the city’s water supply was stored. I try not to use the word “awesome” too lightly but that really was.

This time we went to the Topkapi Palace and of course cruised along the Bosphorus. Istanbul is still one of those places I would like to return to.

If you are following this demo, then thank you. I will complete the finished painting in stages and post as I go